In the U.K. they call them crisps, not potato chips. And perhaps because U.S. consumers made such as incredible fuss over SunChips crisps in (noisy) biodegradable bags, PepsiCo, owner of Frito-Lay and the British brand Walkers, said Walkers could be first to getupgraded biodegradable packaging within 18 months. Walkers' is planning new bags formulated from starch made from potato peelings. The Carbon Trust estimates the average cheese and onion bag of Walker crisps generates about 80 grams of carbon dioxide, about 34% of that from the packaging. Walkers hopes the new bags will pare the footprint by seven percent. Sounds measly, but it's not all PepsiCo is doing to give its chips, crisps, and other snacks a lighter environmental load.
PepsiCo. has promised to cut water usage as well as the carbon impact from its 'primary' crops up to 50 percent within five years.
In the case of the potato, that means inserting a special probe into fields in order to refine irrigation and reduce the amount of water supplied to plants. In Britain, potato farmers (PepsiCo is the largest supplier of spuds to the U.K.) will be given a special tool called The Cool Farm Tool to help them cut crop carbon emissions and save money.
PepsiCo said that it would work on using low-carbon fertilizers and other strategies to reduce carbon footprint. On the negative side, the company also mentioned that it would switch to potato varieties that are hardier and need less water, which could translate to genetically modified varieties. India recently announced that it has genetically engineered a potato using amaranth genes to make it have a significantly higher protein content.
Here's the scoop on SunChips compostable bags:
Is Noise Really Why SunChips Should Ditch Bioplastic Packaging?
SunChips to Introduce Completely Compostable Bag
The Consumer Scoop on SunChips' 100 Percent Compostable Packaging